Friday, March 21, 2014

Review: 'Divergent' keeps you invested

<Deal Todayp>( -- In the posters for "Divergent," Shailene Woodley has been given the stylized bod of a comic-book sci-action vamp, and her features are as coolly chiseled as her physique.

But in the movie version of Veronica Roth's 2011 novel, Woodley, I'm glad to say, is a lot more recognizably human, and that goes for her acting too. Her character, Tris, spends most of the film learning to leap and toss knives and risk death like a badass, and when she puts those skills to the test battling her society's corrupt leaders, there's no doubt that she's a superior, market-tested YA role model, like Katniss in "The Hunger Games." But she is also, as Woodley plays her, an intensely vulnerable and relatable character.

"Divergent" has cast some big names -- Kate Winslet, Shailene Woodley and Ashley Judd, to name a few -- and an even bigger expectation to blow out the box office when it opens on March 21. Whether you're already a fan who needs a refresher or brand new to the world of Beatrice "Tris" Prior and her struggle, consider this your initiation into the newest YA movie craze. 'Divergent': A guide to the newest YA movie craze

Tris, a.k.a. Beatrice, has been raised as a member of Abnegnation, one of five factions in a walled dystopia that was formerly Chicago and still looks, strikingly, like a semiruined concrete-playground version of that city. The members of Abnegnation dress in plain tan frocks, like the Amish, and they're all about puritan self-sacrifice. The other four factions ar e Erudite (defined by their transcendent knowledge), Candor (who are compulsively honest), Amity (the naturally peaceful), and Dauntless (the fearless tattooed warrior jocks in black - in other words, the sect that anyone cool would want to be part of). Beatrice and her peers have the right to choose a -faction for themselves (it's like picking a college - you can go to Yale even if your folks didn't). But when she takes the test to learn which faction she's best suited for, it turns out that she's in the rare forbidden -category known as Divergent, which means she has the qualities of three factions at once: Abnegnation, -Erudite, and Dauntless. It may sound silly to say she's an outlaw because she's self-sacrificial, brilliant, and strong all at the same time, but what's really forbidden is -independent thought.

Woodley, through the delicate power of her acting, does something compelling: She shows you what a prickly, fearful, yet daring personality looks like when it's nestled deep within the kind of modest, bookish girl who shouldn't even like gym class. Tris chooses to become part of Dauntless not because she has any special athletic skill but because it's her nature to go for broke. The first half of "Divergent" is a lean, exciting basic-training thriller, with Tris willing herself to do things like jump aboard speeding trains and fight with her bare knuckles. Woodley, at every turn, lets us feel as if we're in her shoes, not so much Dauntless as thrillingly daunted.

The second half of the movie goes on a bit, with too many rote combat scenes. Yet the director, Neil Burger (the fanciful craftsman who made "Limitless" and "The Illusionist"), keeps you invested, staging a rise-of-the-savior-heroine plot so that it seems less ritualistic than it does in the Hunger Games films. It helps that the drill sergeant, named Four, is played by Theo James, who's like an unflaky James Franco with a surly hint of T-shirt-era Brando; he brings off the neat trick of playing a hardass who is also a heartthrob. And it's nice to watch Kate Winslet go full ice-blood fascist as the Erudite leader who makes a scarily smart case for a society rooted in the fine art of -control. In many ways, she sounds similar to a movie executive, so I'm glad to see the launch of a dystopian franchise in which individuality, as embodied by Shailene Woodley, looks like it could mean something beyond hiply propping up the status quo. Grade: B+

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

John Donovan surfaces; Discount cards; What wing, Loretta? BEN Column, March 16, update 3


Phone: 856-451-1000, ext. 556

Cell: 856-237-6645

U.S. Army: RA13815980

The column that says read us 28 times a week and win a prize.


Good evening!


If you have to mush on Monday, we're changing weather forecasters.


Dean Dellaquila fixed the microphones at Bridgeton City Council.


The speakers can be heard, but there's a possible squeal that sends Dellaquila scurrying to each microphone trying to find out which one is causing it.

It's usually Dale Goodreau's.

We're letting you know, Goldie Wulderk, that you should be able to hear everybody.


"Re BEN March 15, Update 2:

"Hey, Jack,

"You put forth a great dissertation.

"Are you listening Dr. Jones?

"And your niche, Tom of Upper Deerfield, may be to start a right of left wing blog.

"From 8 to Great is the path we need.

"Lead us there!''

- Loretta Lee Dilks


We'll let you in on a little secret, Loretta.

Dr. Jones is our only hope.


We've never understood right wing and left wing, except on an airplane sand a chicken.

But what the heck is right of left wing?


The Fairton United Methodist Church has their $5 On Sales Cards again this year.

They are available from any church member or by calling the church at 856-451-4182.

They have 48 businesses on them and are good until March 1, 2015.

Proceeds go to our building fund.

Please come out and enjoy the Spring Sale Fundraiser at the Fairton United Methodist Church located at 20 Main St., in Fairton, on April 4-5 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

We will have our indoor yard sale, baked goods, food, drinks, crafts and meatball sandwiches for sale.

Proceeds from the sale go to our building fund.

For more information, call 856-451-4182.


By this time, we expected John Donovan to be coaching the Philadelphia Union.

He was a lesson in jumping, screaming, rolling, yelling and twirling while coaching boys soccer at Schalick.

Nobody watched the games.

They all watched the coach.

It worked.

Donovan won titles after starting the program in 1986.

When they won their first South Jersey Group I title, Donvoan wass named Coach of the Year.

He won over 200 games coaching youth soccer.

Then we found out he hired people to work at a Bridgeton tomato processing plant during the summer.

That made him even more important.

Alas, the tomato processing plant is gone and so is Donovan.

Until he read in the column about Karen Bowman's walk down memory lane and a state champion coach of Schalick girls basketball 30 years ago.

That made Donovan surface.

"Ha, ha!

"That's right, I was once a famous Schalick High School soccer coach.

"You and Mike Cudemo are still famous.

"I saw your piece on Karen Bowman.

"Karen had 100 or more wins in three sports and, I believe, 86 in field hockey.

"Almost 400 wins in four different sports.

"Pretty impressive.

"And ... Hall of Fame for me?

"I was contacted this winter by the South Jersey Soccer Coaches Association requesting my bio/stats for a spring induction.

"I replied that I really wasn't interested in going through that process right now.

"I wonder how many guys have turned that down?

"Always enjoy your column.''

- John Donovan,

K9 Connection Dog Training

Former Member: United States Police Canine Association

Phone: 856-264-4934


Karen Bowman was relaxed, concentrated, controlled while confidently urging on her teams.

You, John, who will turn 65 next year,were an out-of-control contortionist doing backflips and cartwheels around the field every time your Cougars scored.


John, if you don't want to do the Hall of Fame for ourself, at least do it for your boys.

They can at least say they put their coach in the Hall of Fame.

They don't induct teams.

They don't induct players.

So the coach has to be the school beacon.

Wouldn't it be great to see 1995 Inquirer Player of the Year Kevin Jackson again?

We have your record right here. You don't have to look it up.

You were 122-60, won six straight conference titles and two South Jersey Group I titles.

You left to work on your master's degree.

Has Hunt's contacted your about their tomato Hall of Fame?


MY KIND OF TOWN: Where it's time to get on a committee in your town, people.

Wiedmer: SEC now must deal with cynical committee

<Promo Codep>ATLANTA - Fourteen points.

If by some grave miscarriage of justice the Tennessee Volunteers are left out of the NCAA men's basketball tournament by a Selection Committee who's apparently allergic to Southeastern Conference basketball, that's the stat that may do them in.

When you score just 14 points in the second half of a conference semifinal game, as UT did in losing 56-49 to Florida on Saturday, you leave those who doubt you an out to leave you out.

Doesn't mean the Vols won't make the field this evening. Doesn't mean they shouldn't make the field, especially given some of the officials' whistles that went against them in the final minutes against the Gators.

But it also means that Cuonzo Martin's third Big Orange squad best hope that ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi's assessment that Tennessee is no worse than an 11th seed is correct.

"They are going to be, I think, a very difficult team in the NCAA tournament from what I've been able to see this year playing them three times," said Florida coach Billy Donovan.

"I think, certainly, they're an NCAA tournament team. I don't think there's any question about it."

When you've missed March Madness the last two years, there's always questions. When the SEC is perceived to be so weak that on more than one occasion ESPN's Dick Vitale has proclaimed, "You could argue that the SEC only has two teams that deserve to get in -- Florida and Kentucky," there's no way to avoid questions.

And having the top-ranked Gators and curious Cats face off in today's conference title game does nothing to weaken that argument.

Particularly when Kentucky has won each of its games in this tournament by double figures and Florida held the Vols to 14 points in the final 20 minutes after UT owned a seven-point advantage (35-28) at the break.

No one may indeed beat Florida the rest of the season. The Rolling Reptiles are that good, blessed with the kind of chemistry and consistency that is so often found in teams starting four experienced, talented seniors.

So it's no disgrace that Tennessee lost, though the actions of official Pat Adams in teeing up UT forward Jeronne Maymon in a tie game with 4:39 to go bordered on disgraceful.

Maymon did make a gesture toward the UT bench as Adams went to the scorer's table to record what would have been Maymon's fourth foul. But Maymon never looked at the official and never said a disparaging word. A better ref would have, at the very least, told Maymon to calm down or Adams would be forced to give him a T.

Instead, the technical became Maymon's fifth foul, which meant he was disqualified, Florida hit all four free throws on the play and while UT somehow rallied to tie it at 49 with 2:48 to go on Jordan McRae's lone made 3-pointer of the game, they were never in control from Maymon's technical on.

And all that ignores the foul on Florida point guard Scottie Wilbekin with 1:20 to play, that appeared to be an elbow to Vols guard Antonio Barton's head but was merely ruled an offensive foul, which kept UT from shooting free throws and possessing the ball.

If Adams works another tournament game this spring at any level -- today's SEC final, the NCAA tourney, the NIT or one of those pay-your-way tourneys the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men are competing in, there needs to be an investigation.

But that doesn't mean the Vols would have beaten Florida if Adams had been circling the moon. Florida's defense just wouldn't let them score.

And because Georgia couldn't score enough to beat Kentucky, it would appear that the Gators, Wildcats and Vols are the only three SEC schools likely to make the NCAA field.

But that doesn't mean it's completely fair. The Bulldogs' Rating Percentage Index was 67 on Saturday afternoon, too low to be a serious bubble team. The 19-13 record also isn't much to shout about, especially given early losses to Davidson and Georgia Tech.

But while Iowa has lost six of its last seven games, including a loss to lowly Northwestern in the first round of the Big Ten tourney, Georgia has won five of its last seven, including a road victory at LSU, which was something Kentucky couldn't do.

Yet the latest NCAA projections have the 20-12 Hawkeyes as a 10th seed and the 19-13 Bulldogs nowhere to be found.

"They're a lock for the NCAA tournament. We're not," Fox said without mentioning Iowa by name.

"Who is picking the field? Is it a computer? Is it just numbers, or do we look at who is a good basketball team right now?"

It appears that right now it may be better to get run over in the Big Ten than win in the SEC. But with football spring practice under way, and the SEC tourney again overrun with Kentucky's Big Blue Nation, it's hard to know if anyone but the players and coaches really cares. And until that changes, the SEC's sparse NCAA bids may not.

Contact Mark Wiedmer at

Shore sales make a comeback

Posted: Sunday, March 16, 2014, 1:09 AM

For those who have delayed buying a Jersey Shore vacation house for any reason - maybe an allergic reaction to Dodd-Frank mortgage reform, or post-Sandy confusion compounded by flood-insurance phobia - the experts' counsel is this:

No worries.

"Sandy is past news," said Marge Swanson, a mortgage consultant with Trident Mortgage in Ocean City. "The lenders are lending. It's kind of behind us."

Said Cheryl Huber, an agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach in Ocean City: "Most people have decided that life is too short."

Maybe not most, but certainly many. New houses are going up, market observers here say, and previously owned houses are moving, with bidding wars in some towns because for-sale inventory is limited.

A condo in Diamond Beach, already under contract for the full price of $799,900, went into a bidding war with multiple offers, said Robert Snyder, an agent with Weichert Coastal who sells in one of the two most popular Jersey coast zip codes, the Wildwoods.

"You see that with people who are trying to move up," Snyder said, adding that there are not a lot of listings.

In the other most popular zip code, which includes Ocean City, 259 building permits were issued for 2013, up from 152 in 2012.

And in tiny Longport, all 1.6 square miles of it, there were 27 new permits, said Suzy Lawler, an agent with Long & Foster. It may not sound like much, but considering that five out of 10 houses occupy about 4,000 square feet each, they cover a lot of real estate.

All this is not to say Hurricane Sandy is just a memory - it's anything but. Those new houses, if they are in flood plains, must adhere to new federal rules Buy Cheap elevation, which can require that structures be at least 12 feet above base. And those flood-insurance prices will be elevating, too. But with the U.S. House's move earlier this month to ensure that annual premiums not rise more than 18 percent, vacation-home buyers will get something of a break - if President Obama signs the legislation. (The Senate passed the measure in late January.)

House hunters are doing "more due diligence, just to see if there was water damage," said Snyder. And they are asking about elevations, Huber said.

"Buyers are smarter. They know what they are getting into. They want a Shore home," said Rick Butera, a branch manager for HomeBridge Financial in Bayville, Ocean County. "Before, values were escalating, but Sandy put a damper on it."

Whatever obstacles a would-be buyer - one who can afford another mortgage - thinks might exist between second-home dream and sand-dune reality are scalable, market observers said. But that buyer will need patience, cash, and a good credit score, because cheap VA or Federal Housing Administration mortgages are not available for traditional vacation homes.

You have to prove you can afford the second home, Butera said - that's what the Dodd-Frank reform is all about.

"It's cumbersome, but you can get through it," he said. And different lenders require different amounts on down payments.

Consumers have noticed, said Chace Gundlach, mortgage-banking regional sales manager for Citizens Bank. "They say, 'It's not as easy to get a loan. It's not just one assets statement; it's a couple of years' worth of W-2s.' "

Which, apparently, is why so many people are paying cash for their vacation homes: They don't want the bother.

"Out of 10 buyers, maybe five are paying cash," Lawler said, "even before Dodd-Frank." Butera said he is seeing the same on Long Beach Island, as is Gundlach at Citizens' Avalon branch.

The latest U.S. trend data from the National Association of Realtors, from 2012, showed 46 percent of all vacation homes (purchased primarily for personal or family use, rather than for investment) were paid for with cash.

Where does that leave buyers whose lexicon doesn't include the words liquid assets?

Crawl before you walk, Butera advised: "Get something that makes sense. Trade up in a few years."

That something might be a foreclosed property. Opportunities exist, said Gundlach, but the process can be exhausting: Prior owners can get nasty, ripping out bathrooms and kitchens, making the property unlivable.

A property like that needs to be fixed before you can make settlement. If the lender has assumed control, it could be a minimum of six months before it can be purchased.

But in the end, for a house at the beach, it may very well be worth it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Developer Interview: Causal Bit Games On Scratching That Hardcore Itch With Insanity's Blade

"This is how I want to feel while I split my enemies in half"

We recently reported on the confirmation that Causal Bit Games is bringing its retro-inspired action title Insanity's Blade to the Wii U eShop. Looking like the best 16-bit hack-and-slash game you never played, this digital download aims to capture the feel of genre classics like Rastan, Black Tiger and Ninja Gaiden. Causal Bit founders and directors Chris Obritsch and Daven Bigelow were kind enough to sit down with us to chat about the game, the Wii U and working with Nintendo. Splitting enemies in half was also mentioned, so consider yourself warned.

Nintendo Life: Can you tell us a little about the development team behind the game? What prior experience do you have?

Chris Obritsch: Causal Bit Games is a two-man development team. I do all of the graphics, sound of music soundtrack FX and lead code. Daven codes a lot of the tricky stuff - he's the math! Creative wise, I have a background in multimedia design and have been doing design for the past 10 years. I worked as a Creative Director on Print and Web Projects such as Maxim and various Industry Publications. I began building games for clients professionally in 2013, but game development has been a hobby since 1987 on my Commodore 64. I am also an avid collector and player of retro video games.

Daven Bigelow: I have been a game development enthusiast and indie dev for many years while also being a published author on Construct game development. Often I can be found making an example or tutorial file, or teaching game development to anyone who wants to learn. Chris and I have become good friends since meeting in 2011 and have established a really strong creative and problem-solving think tank between the two of us, and we always have ideas of what's coming next.

What games have specifically inspired the creation of Insanity's Blade?

Chris Obritsch: Insanity's Blade is a lot of my favourite games jumbled into one! It started off as a tribute to Batman and Ninja Gaiden on the NES, but it didn't feel like enough to me. It became a little bit of Black Tiger, Magic Sword, Castlevania: Rondo of Blood - insert your favorite classic here! Basically, anything I love playing and coming back to started being thrown into the mix. The cart scene is a nod to Rondo of Blood, although is technically nothing like that fight. The multiple daggers is very Black Tiger. The monster overload is very Magic Sword. But the game still plays like a combination of Batman and Ninja Gaiden on NES - just with a lot of extras.

Daven Bigelow: I really love the retro games, and whenever Chris is thinking of what to do next we both search our memories for the awesome 8-bit and 16-bit games we used to play and bounce ideas around until we have the perfect addition to the game experience.

"Insanity's Blade is a lot of my favourite games jumbled into one...basically, anything I love playing and coming back to started being thrown into the mix" The title started as a tribute to 8-bit gaming, but has recently moved into the realms of 16-bit visuals. What's the reasoning behind this change?

Chris Obritsch: This is actually the second version of the 16-bit arcade-style visuals. I had started another version to see what it would look like with full-blown 2D FX and a flattened out stage. I had made real time 2D shadows, but it killed the engine and I dropped it. The game started off as 8-bit and I had always loved the idea of a really nice homage, but as we progressed it just didn't feel like it was doing my story justice, and I wanted to add so much more to the game that a Nintendo [NES] couldn't possibly do. It was when we added co-op into the mix that I decided we had crossed the line - the game on an NES would have flickered so bad and slowed down with the co-op sprite it would have been unplayable. So to 16-bit we went! I started drawing the graphics in a backup of our working files and then showed it to Daven - he loved it. We also did a vote on our Kickstarter to see if everyone was OK with it, and it went over without a hitch! Only a couple of people asked that we keep the NES graphics as a second version of the game. So the game will come with the arcade graphics and an 8-bit NES version.

Daven Bigelow: Insanity's Blade felt like it had reached its potential in the 8-bit version, and although it was a really solid game, we both felt we could do even more with the story and gameplay experience by upping it to 16-bit. Both versions will still get released, so it really was a win-win situation.

What's the reaction been like from the community to the PC demos you've released so far, and how have you incorporated this feedback into the final product?

Chris Obritsch: So far the majority of people who have played it, especially with the latest beta, have loved it. Most of the feedback came during the original beta release with Kickstarter, and we have listened to most of it. Things like fixing the wall jump, adding co-op, widescreen support and difficulty settings have all been added in. We want people to have as much fun playing the game as we do, and have compromised in several areas to make sure they do! And by compromise I mean to not make it impossibly hard - I live on that stuff, but from the feedback we got there aren't many dinosaurs like me left!!

Daven Bigelow: I'm really happy to see the positive feedback we've been getting, after all the hours bug fixing and coding new features Chris and I always appreciate the welcomed response! There has been some struggle too, of course. At one point we were releasing new betas almost every week and it was interesting to make a new post saying "Download the new demo!" and shortly after watch "Let's Play!" videos appear with a three-week-old build.

"If Capcom and Konami still made games like this, I would be throwing my money at them all the time" Shovel Knight is another download title which seeks to emulate the experience of past consoles. Why do you think there's such interest in this kind of retro visual style today?

Chris Obritsch: For me, this style is what I grew up with. It's what I still want to play. I still love it - it still feels like a video game when you can see the pixels and see that someone spent time drawing out the animation for something. The art style still shows. A retro game was/is always a quick burst of intense excitement. You won't typically waste a day to a week of your life playing a retro game, unless it's an RPG. For someone like me who has no time to play games for extreme lengths of time anymore, this is just a better choice. I will always love not being hand-held in a game. I love the rush of adrenaline when you get to a really hard boss and you know that if you die you have to do everything all over again - or at least from a previous a checkpoint. If Capcom and Konami still made games like this, I would be throwing my money at them all the time!

Daven Bigelow: I definitely agree with Chris, and also think it's awesome that these games both have their own unique elements and stories to tell. On top of the retro elements it's really great that the games are playable on the computers and consoles of today. The games industry may remember the thousands of classic titles and ask "Why make more?" but to me it's indie titles like Shovel Knight or Insanity's Blade that let us reconnect the best parts from gaming's past with modern comforts like widescreen and modern controller support and say, "This is why I loved my NES, this is the story I want to tell, and this is how I want to feel while I split my enemies in half".

You've gone for an authentic audio sound as well - can you talk us through the production of the game's chiptune soundtrack? How important was it to get the music right?

Chris Obritsch: I was raised on music so I'm a bit of a perfectionist with this stuff. Although I've done a couple of the songs on the soundtrack, I wanted people who could step up to the plate and blow my mind. The music is all done through freelancing - we had one musician doing things earlier on but now we have a 10-year veteran of chiptune music step up and he's knocking everything out of the park! The music is all authentic Famicom VRC6 chiptunes, no exceptions. Because the VRC6 had more channels it sounded more like early arcade music. And in my opinion this stuff is far better than early arcade music! Whenever my new musician sends me a sample of what he's working on, I'm like a kid in a candy story - it's just epic stuff, can't wait to get the whole track!

Daven Bigelow: I love listening to chiptune music even outside of the games themselves, so I knew that memorable music would really make Insanity's Blade even better. It was Chris who did the talent search but he found some great candidates and I think it's a big part of the game now!

"The other game we have in the works is being developed with the Wii U in mind so we are looking forward to showing that one to the public a little more after we have it cleaned up" You're very early into the process of porting the game to the Wii U, but what has Nintendo been like to work with so far? When can we expect to see the game hit the eShop?

Chris Obritsch: Nintendo has been fantastic so far! No delays, and everyone is terrific! But it's very very early on so there isn't much to tell. Once we have a better idea of how to tackle the Wii U port we can give a better timeline.

Do you have any plans for a 3DS version as well?

Chris Obritsch: I'd love to say yes, but this is a very up in the air. It will have to be developed separately from what we've done so far. We'll see further down the road if this is an option.

Daven Bigelow: I sure hope we can get on 3DS, that would be awesome.

Will you be looking to make use of the Wii U GamePad's second screen in any way?

Chris Obritsch: For this first game, there's not really much of a point aside of showing the game on the screen. The second game we have planned has split screen and we can always use the second screen for the second player. Lots of options there!

Daven Bigelow: Yeah, there's nothing too fancy that we expect to do with Insanity's Blade, but we'll see how it goes.

Do you have any other projects in the pipeline that you can tell us about?

Chris Obritsch: Yes we do - Insanity's Blade has a long storyline. We will probably split it up into three games. We'll see. The other game we have in the works is being developed with the Wii U in mind so we are looking forward to showing that one to the public a little more after we have it cleaned up. Right now the alpha version is on the back burner until Insanity's Blade is completed - since there are only two of us working on the code and GFX!

Daven Bigelow: We are always thinking of cool ideas and writing them down for later, it will be great to announce them as well after Insanity's Blade is out in the wild!

Thanks to Chris and Daven for giving up their time to speak with us.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Deal of the Day: Seidio SURFACE Holster for BlackBerry Q10

Date : 11 Mart 2014 Salı - 17:20, Category : TECHNOLOGY

Promo Codes: Seidio SURFACE Holster for BlackBerry Q10

Deal of the Day: Seidio SURFACE Holster for BlackBerry Q10

For today only, purchase the Seidio SURFACE Holster for BlackBerry Q10 and save 50% off the list price! The durable spring clip on the SURFACE Holster holds your BlackBerry Q10 securely in place, and then lifts for quick access. Both the felt liner and t

For today only, purchase the Seidio SURFACE Holster for BlackBerry Q10 and save 50% off the list price!

The durable spring clip on the SURFACE Holster holds your BlackBerry Q10 securely in place, and then lifts for quick access. Both the felt liner and the face-in design protect your screen from scratches and exposure to outside elements. This holster can be worn in any one of seven different positions, ranging between horizontal and vertical. * Requires SURFACE Case for proper fit (sold separately)

Learn More and Buy Now

Canada Deal of the Day: Ballistic SG Series Hard Shell for BlackBerry Z10
Source :


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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Titanfall PC Pre-Order: $10 Off Promo And Pre-Load Before Tuesday

<Reviewp>Still on the fence about Titanfall? UK-based retailer is dangling a flat $10 off code for those in North America, just a few days before the Tuesday release date next week. If you're so inclined, you can grab Titanfall's Origin key for $49.99 after coupon code XXYB8X-LHFV73-66QFG8

For those abroad, the global release date is on March 13, just two days after the North American release date. (If you're in South Africa however, you're basically SOL until Respawn Entertainment gets a chance at figuring out the server situation).

On the console side, only the Xbox One will be released on the previously determined date (the 360 version is now delayed to March 25 in the US and March 28 in Europe).

All in all, hype for Titanfall appears to be justified thus far based on beta plays - at least, for those that enjoy FPS games. If you've decided to grab the PC version, pre-loading well advance is highly recommended unless you have a fast connection for the 20GB. If you're on a SSD and storage is low, you might want to plan advance because the install will be 50GB.

Monday, March 3, 2014

[Deal Alert] Get 8 Free Games In Today's Amazon Game Pack, Including Buddy & Me, Gravity Guy, And Sonic Jump

The Play Store is filled with great games to cram onto your mobile device, but there's another Android marketplace you may have forgotten to check. Don't worry, I have your back. Amazon">Amazon is currently offering eight free games as part of today's Game Pack. If you throw in the usual free app of the day, that actually makes nine games you can get just by hitting up Amazon before the day is up.

This pack contains some real time killers. Gravity Guy is a compelling experience that has been around for a while, and Buddy & Me is just absolutely adorable. Sonic Jump is a made-for-mobile vertical platformer, while QuizClash is there to provide a round of fun for people who prefer a bit of trivia with their entertainment.

The full list of games and their original prices, along with links, are provided for your convenience below. Note that two of them will only run on a Kindle Fire.

App of the Day: Thanks, Timothy Walter.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Best Buy deal makes iPhone 5s a bargain

Craving an iPhone 5s? Review has a deal for you today and Saturday.

Come into one of its 1,400 stores that do trade-ins and turn in a working iPhone 4s or iPhone 5 and you will get a $150 minimum trade-in that can be used to get the iPhone 5s 16GB model ($149.99) for free.

Customers must be eligible for an upgrade and activate a two-year contract with AT&T, Sprint or Verizon. The offer is good for Friday and Saturday, Feb. 28 and March 1.

You can check the trade-in value of your old phone at

Best Buy has had to get creative in the hyper-competitive smartphone marketplace. In February, it pledged $50 in credit to anyone who would plan to get their next upgraded phone from the retailer.

EARNINGS: Best Buy stock jumps on return to profit

Getting a steady stream of customers in the door is important for Best Buy, which on Thursday announced that its fourth quarter earnings were better than expected. However, profit arose from cost cutting not sales.

Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

BBC drama 'Ripper Street' rescued in Amazon deal

LONDON (AP) - "Ripper Street" has been rescued.

The Victorian detective drama was canceled by the BBC earlier this year after two seasons because of poor ratings. But after an online campaign by fans, it is returning for a third series through a deal between the British broadcaster and online retailer Promotional Inc.

Filming begins in May on the new series, which will be shown first on Amazon's Prime Instant Video service, before airing on BBC television.

Matthew Macfadyen and Jerome Flynn return as 19th-century police fighting crime in the sordid streets of London's East End.

BBC drama boss Ben Stephenson said Wednesday that the deal was "an exceptional opportunity" to bring the show back that would please fans while freeing up BBC money for new drama series.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Nyx by Sansiri Sales Gallery / TROP : terrains + open space

Interior Designer: WWA
Design Team: Pok Kobkongsanti, Bumrungpong Chainarapipat

From the architect. Nyx by Sansiri is a new residential tower, located in Thonburi, just across the river from Bangkok. Around July, 2013, TROP got a commission to design its sales gallery, which contains a reception area, mock up units and staff office, plus the surrounding landscape. Usually most sales gallery for this type of projects are quite similar. Clients would want to see some beautiful architecture standing in the impressive surrounding. Its main purpose is to attract the potential buyers to drive in and, hopefully, buy a unit or two.

Our first interest is to find out the meaning of the project's name, "Nyx". According to Wikipedia, "In Greek Mythology, Nyx is the goddess of the night. Most legends portray her as a figure of exceptional power and beauty. She is found in the shadows of the world and only ever seen in glimpses." The client's marketing department gave us a brief that most of their potential buyers are those who work hard and play harder. Usually these group of people arrive their homes in the late hour, therefore using the goddess of the night's name makes sense for the sale.

Inspired by this mysterious female figure, we wanted to design the architecture with a sense of femininity. Curve lines will dominate the space, while boxy shapes of the mock up units will have to be hidden. Instead of creating a sales gallery right in the middle of the site, we tried to tone down the design gesture a little bit. Our first move is to locate all function areas right next to the boundary wall. Then we cut and rolled the boundary wall inward, creating 2 curvy facades of the sales gallery.

In between these 2 curved walls, the reception area, toilets, 2 mock up units and staff office are tightly placed together. All perpendicular corners of the mock up units are now revealed only right next to the boundary wall, which nobody could see from the outside. To echo the "Night" appearance, the whole building is painted in Midnight Blue color. Throughout the curved walls, a series of holes are strategically placed to create contrast between solid and void. In the daytime, we can see the greenery revealing through the wall, while, at night, the lighting can pass through like stars.

The sales gallery is also integrated into the surrounding landscape. Green sloped landform is located in front of the first curve wall. Featured tree is planted in the middle of the space. In daytime, its shadow casts Amazon Deal Online the wall, creating beautiful pattern. At night, with the uplighting on the wall, the tree becomes only a silhouette. In the dark, the shadows and light cast on the curved walls, creating even more mysterious appearance, just like "Nyx", the goddess of the night.

Sales Leads:ConAgra, Budweiser, Verifone, Amazon, Dr Pepper, Nascar

A summary for Corporate Marketers, Media Sales Executives and Advertising Agencies to see what clients are moving into the Hispanic market and/or targeting Hispanic consumers right now.

Start the year on the right foot with Portada's Interactive Directory of Corporate Marketers and Agency Executives. To acquire the database, please call Nicolas Miranda at 1-800-937-5322 or e-mail him at

Sparks has won ConAgra's, the food and grocery products giant, media buying and planning account. Spark already held ConAgra's digital media business, which it won away from MediaCom in 2011. Now ConAgra is again moving its approximate US $150 million ad spending account from incumbent MediaCom, which had handled the reins for more than 10 years. Spark continues to land new accounts after only two years of converting to a major full service agency. Last month it won the US $40 million REI account away from OMD. In the past year it has pulled in more than 15 new pieces of business with expenditures totaling US $800 million.

Mondelez plans to spend half its Ad budget on digital By 2016.Therefore, is expanding its social media campaigns to more "challenged" brands such as Trident and its other gums.According to the company's North American president Mark Clouse, its digital platforms have proven to drive twice the ROI of traditional TV advertising. He pointed to an Oreo promotion on Twitter where free packs were given to the first 20,000 people who sent a tweet to a particular hashtag. He said the Oreo Facebook site has 35 million fans and social media has helped the brand double its sales two years in a row. Expanding ad dollars in digital to 50% in three years would be at the top end of the ad dollar shift.

Magna Global has committed about US $100 million of clients' marketing dollars (including agencies like Initiative and UM) to Google properties, such as YouTube, the Google online display ad network and its mobile platform. It's the first time Magna has struck such a deal with Google, which last year did similar deals with MediaVest and Publicis digital agencies. Following the deal, Magna gets access to Google ad research data.This deal is similar to that achieved by Starcom MediaVest Group made with Microsoft and its digital properties. All these deals are now including 'first looks' at consumer research from the digital platforms that will help the agencies better target their ads for clients.

The Latin Rock musician Juanes (photo) introduced Ram 1500 latest spanish-language commercial in their extended partnership on the "A Todo, Con Todo" ("To Everything, with Everything") Spanish-language advertising campaign. The new TV spot featuring Juanes' new hit single "La Luz" ("The Light") is the final part of an ad series promoting the 2014 Ram light-duty truck centered on Juanes and his road crew.The new "A Todo, Con Todo" prominently features Juanes performing "La Luz" on stage while also focusing on his road crew's efforts to set up for his concert "once the lights go out." Juanes and his crew relied on the Ram 1500 to move heavy stage equipment from city to city so they can deliver fan-pleasing performances.The 30-second Ram spot, both continues the campaign's emphasis on the values of hard work and determination shared by the brand and Latin cultures, and highlights the innovations of the 2014 Ram also highlights the idea of how they have both worked together to deliver a performance for music fans and truck owners alike.Launched in December 2013, "La Luz" is Juanes' latest single of the album "Loco De Amor," scheduled for release on March 11, 2014.The Spanish-language Ram Truck TV ad will run nationally on the Univision and Telemundo networks.

Budweiser launches "Rise As One" global marketing campaign on behalf of its sponsorship of the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. As the official beer sponsor of tournament, Budweiser has designed a platform under the "Rise As One" thematic, which will serve to celebrate the moments that unite and inspire fans of the game around the world. Budweiser's Rise As One campaign will be unveiled to a national audience with the first new TV spots breaking online on March 5, 2014, which will showcase the passion of fans across the world as they come together to celebrate the tournament. The campaign will have global reach through a unified platform including new television and out-of-home advertising, as well as local market activations and initiatives to engage fans in-store, online and across social channels. Additionally, Budweiser will develop and distribute global broadcast and digital FIFA World Cup related content through strategic media partnerships, the details of which will be revealed in the coming weeks.Furthermore, Budweiser unveiled its unique packaging for the tournament, featuring the iconic FIFA World Cup Trophy coined in 1974.

Verifone has launched a Spanish-language campaign to get New York City's green taxis equipped with its proprietary payment systems. The message for the campaign is"Ponte Pa Lo Tuyo", which in English would be would be "Get with it and start making money". The campaign includes television, radio and print ads. There are a total of three television and radio spots produced by the Epic Sugar agency , and then broadcasted through multiple TV and Radio outlets in and around New York City. A asingle print ad creative will be advertised over the course of 12 weeks on El Diario in NYC.

Coupon Code signed a digital video ad deal with Geico. Geico, will be presenting sponsor for Amazon's upcoming pilot season when a new group of series pilots produced by Amazon will be streamed through its Amazon Prime Instant Video service.Geico will run ads on the landing page and 15-second spots streamed before each series. The deal also includes ads across, on the Kindle Fire 'wake' screen and on Amazon-owned site ad deal puts Amazon in competition for advertising with other streaming video sites such as YouTube, Hulu, Yahoo and AOL, along with TV networks.

Telemundo Media partners with Dr Pepper to celebrate one of a kind novella talent through a multiplatform campaign.The campaign is aimed at US Hispanics to celebrate Telemundo's unique relationship with its talent. This partnership features a close look at the personal and professional lives of three Telemundo novela megastars, and their unique stories.The three "Unicos" are: Litzy, one of Mexico's television and music stars; Carmen Villalobos, one of the most young telenovela actresses, who stars in the upcoming second season of "El Senor de los Cielos"; and Eugenio Siller, Hispanic television's leading man and star of Telemundo's new original production "Reina de Corazones." This campaign is integrated and multifaceted, but everything spins around Los Unicos dedicated custom digital hub. Each of the three stars will be showcased in their own six-part Web series featured on the digital hub, which also includes custom co-branded banners, photo galleries and the 'Rank It' tool that lets fans comment on this campaign. The three stars will also promote their stories on their own social media sites and across Telemundo's social-media pages. This campaign will receive support via on-air promotion during Telemundo's "Un Nuevo Dia" morning show and its "Titulares y Mas" sports series, as well as through cross-promotional segments on Telemundo's sister cable network mun2's "Reventón" and "mun2 Pop." Dr Pepper will be integrated in Telemundo's prime time "Reina de Corazones" series, which will be supported by tune-in messages. Deutsch L.A. is the agency that developed the campaign's English and Spanish versions for Dr Pepper. The multiplatform campaign includes a 2014 Dr Pepper and Telemundo co-branded calendar featuring 12 Telemundo superstars, which will be distributed by Dr Pepper as a gift, with purchase of Dr Pepper products.

Nascar and ad agency Ogilvy & Mather, New York, will challenge the image of drivers as beer-guzzling good ol' boys as part of a new brand campaign breaking during Fox's telecast of the Daytona 500.This will be Ogilvy's second big campaign for Nascar and will not have a tagline. Instead, all the spots will direct viewers to at the end.Ogilvy's three new brand spots are designed to work together to promote Nascar's new 2014 season. Mr. Johnson, Mr. Edwards and Mr. Kahne , riding bikes, jumping rope and kickboxing as well as shots of three of them and their respective race cars being prepped for the track. "Which is the machine?" asks the spot:

Another 60-second spot will focus on how kids see drivers such as Danica Patrick, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart as "heroes."Here is the spot:

The last an also 60-second spot called "Change" will highlight the evolution of the sport from its beginnings to billion-dollar present. The spot will feature clips of legendary drivers such as "The Intimidator" Earnhardt as well as a clip of the famous Cale Yarborough vs. Donnie Allison brawl at the Great American Race in 1979 that put Nascar on the map as national TV property. The "heroes and the villains" may change, notes the spot, but Nascar is still Nascar:

As nearly 50% of Nascar fans are women, the spots were first thought for this audience but also to appeal the male audience as well so as it had a serious tone too.

Read previous issues of Sales Leads!

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Start the year on the right foot with Portada's Interactive Directory of Corporate Marketers and Agency Executives. To acquire the database, please call Nicolas Miranda at 1-800-937-5322 or e-mail him at

Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 vs Galaxy Grand Duos Price and Specs Comparison

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The long expected Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 was released following the amazing predecessor Galaxy Grand Duos. Samsung is well known for its quality/price ratio as they have always released high quality products for a share of the price of its main competitor Apple. However not all their products have met the expectations as Galaxy Grand Quattro. We therefore look at Samsung's Galaxy Grand 2 and Galaxy Grand Duos and compare them in order to get a sense of how much more successful will Galaxy Grand 2 be.


Galaxy Grand 2 comes with a slightly bigger display of 5.2 inches which is a slight upgrade from 5 inch display on Grand Duos. While this may not seem much of an improvement the pixel resolution and density definitely sets them apart as Grand 2 benefits of an impressive 720×1280 pixel resolution and 280 (ppi). In comparison Grand Duos figures are 480×800 pixels and 187 ppi. This simply translates into better display, better pictures quality and watching videos or movies will be more enjoyable.


Grand 2 is quite bigger measuring 146.8×75.3×8.9 mm whilst Grand Duos measures 143.5×76.9×9.6 mm but the weight difference is almost insignificant with only one gram difference - 163 g for Grand 2 and 162 g for Grand Duos.


Galaxy Grand 2 comes with Quad-Core 1.2 Cortex-A7, Adreno 305 GPU and Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 with 1.5 GB of RAM and the operating system on it is Android 4.3. Grand Duos works on Android 4.1.2 and comes with a dual-core 1.2GHz Cortex-A9 processor. The CPU running on the Grand 2 makes it the better option.


No changes have been made as far as the camera is concerned as both phones comes with 8 MP camera including auto focus and good-fitted LED flash. The only slight difference is that Grand Duos comes with MP front camera and Grand 2 with a 1.9 MP one. But the 0.1 MP difference cannot be considered a drawback.


As mentioned above the Galaxy Grand 2 features 1.5GB RAM which is an improvement compared to the 1GB RAM found on Grand Duos. But as far as internal memory goes there is no difference there as both devices have been equipped with 8GB memory. Dual SIM is supported on both smartphones and the microSD cards support the expansion of internal memory up to 64GB.


This is a controversial subject when talking about smartphones as users are constantly looking for better battery life expectancy.

Grand Duos run on Li-Ion 2100 mAh, supposedly translates into 10 talk-time hours for 2G and more than 400 of them in standby. However Grand 2 has a more greater autonomy, Li-Ion 2600 mAh, that gives users longer talk-time (17 hours) in a 3G network and about 370 hours in standby mode.


Samsung have always been at the top as they have successfully managed to release high-end quality devices at an affordable price.

Unveiled in India, the price for Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 has been set from Rs 22990 to Rs 24990 or found on Amazon at $400. In comparison the Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos costs between Rs 17,000 and Rs 19,500 or can be found on Amazon at a price of $280.

Galaxy Grand 2 wins the color round too for it is available in pink, black and white unlike the Grand Duos which was mainly available in white.

Here you can also find a comparison between Samsung Galaxy Grand 2, Moto G and Lumia 1320.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Grocery bills: Compare shelf and checkout prices, consumer warns

An Iqaluit man is warning shoppers to check their grocery store bills, after discovering shelf prices didn't always match scanned prices at checkout.

Thomas Ahlfors, who shops at Iqaluit's NorthMart, said that three times in one week, the Discount on the shelf did not match the scanned price at the checkout counter.

"I figured enough is enough," he said. "I went on the internet and found the full policy and the North West Company's name was right on there with it."

What he found was a widely known but often forgotten rule of Canadian retail: Whenever there is a discrepancy between an item's shelf price and the price scanned at the register, customers are entitled to get $10 off. If the item is less than $10, it's free.

The rule is enforced at many Canadian retailers who abide by a voluntary scanner accuracy code, including the main northern grocers: the North West Company, Arctic Cooperatives and Loblaws.

"If your company has committed to supporting the code, that commitment comes as one we trust the company to take seriously," said David Wilkes, vice-president of the Retail Council of Canada's grocery division.

The code also states stores should clearly post the price of items on store shelves next to the product, and should take steps to fix discrepancies between scanned and posted prices as quickly as possible once errors are brought to their attention.

Wilkes said if the store refuses to honour the policy, consumers can lodge a formal complaint with the council.

Ahlfors, for one, said he will be a lot more vigilant at the checkout.

"It makes me a lot more careful as far as looking at prices," he said. "Obviously if you do a lot of shopping with a big cart full of stuff, I'm not going to remember all the prices. It's usually when it's the small stuff and the sales prices."

Friday, February 7, 2014

Food Lion unveils online coupon program

Food Lion unveils online Promotional Codes program

Posted: Thursday, February 6, 2014 3:34 PM ESTUpdated: Thursday, February 6, 2014 3:34 PM EST

SALISBURY - From Food Lion: Food Lion has unveiled a new online tool, MVP Coupon Hub, to make accessing grocery coupons online easier for customers. The new tool, found on the grocer's website at, features convenient load-to-card and printable coupons on customers' favorite items to help them save even more on groceries.

"We're proud to bring our customers the new MVP Coupon Hub, which helps customers save by offering hundreds of additional coupons," said Keith Nicks, director of loyalty and digital marketing for Food Lion. "Now, our customers can access Food Lion's Weekly Flyer specials at and easily navigate to MVP Coupon Hub to click or print coupons without ever leaving the site."

Depending on personal preference, customers can select to instantly load coupons to their MVP Card or print their coupons to use in store, or both. MVP Coupon Hub is easily searchable, as well as sortable by coupon value and the expiration date of the coupon.

"Additionally, customers can pair the new online coupons with other savings opportunities in store such as our MVP Flyer Specials or by using their MVP Card to print personalized coupons at our MVP Savings Centers, which are now available in all of Food Lion's more than 1,100 stores," added Nicks.

As customers visit the new MVP Coupon Hub, they'll receive easy instructions for using the new tool through a brief video tutorial that pops up when a customer visits
The launch of MVP Coupon Hub is just one of many digital additions and improvements underway at Food Lion. Additional online improvements will be launched later in the year.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Best Buy Trying to Turn Around - Analyst Blog

As per media reports, electronic giant retailer Super Sale Co., Inc. ( BBY ) is likely to slash 950 employees from its Canadian operations (Best Buy and Future Shop outlets) to cut down on costs.

Further, Best Buy is remodeling its outlets in Quebec, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Alberta with "Stores-within-a-Store" idea by collaborating with vendor partners including South Korean giant Samsung and Microsoft Corporation ( MSFT ).

These moves are a part of Best Buy Canada's efforts to streamline its operations and lay more emphasis on developing its online sales. This announcement comes nearly a year after Best Buy Canada declared its decision to shut down 15 outlets and layoff 900 employees.

Earlier in Jan 2014, Best Buy's stock had crashed 30% in a single day following dismal holiday sales data and the subsequent trimming of guidance, raising concerns over CEO Hubert Joly's ambitious restructuring strategy.

Best Buy's sales fell 2.6% year over year to $11,451 million for the nine weeks ended Jan 4, 2014, while comparable store sales (comps) dipped 0.8% over the same time frame.

Best Buy held that intense promotional war, which characterized the holiday season, had significantly impacted its margins and thus compelled a downward revision in its operating margin guidance. The company had cut down prices, at the expense of profits, to compete better with peers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. ( WMT ).

The only silver lining was Best Buy's strong online performance amid heightened competition from online giants like Inc. ( AMZN ). Online sales at the domestic segment rose 23.5% versus 10% in the prior-year period (nine weeks ended Jan 5, 2013).

The rise of e-commerce could become a potentially catastrophic event for bricks-and-mortar retailers. Amazon has metamorphosed the way consumers used to shop, and the company's performance over this holiday season bears a testimony to it.

E-retailers have the biggest advantage of not maintaining any stores and as a result command a better pricing technique without denting margins. Bricks-and-mortar retailers falter on this ground as prices can be lowered only at the expense of margins as seen this holiday season.

We believe that Best Buy's strategy is on the right track. However, it has failed to produce desired results as reflected in the dismal holiday sales. Hence, it is not easy to comprehend Best Buy's situation at present until we get a clear picture.

Best Buy currently carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).

AMAZON.COM INC (AMZN): Free Stock Analysis Report

BEST BUY (BBY): Free Stock Analysis Report

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Zacks Investment Research

Monday, January 20, 2014

Qatar Duty Free ushers in the Chinese New Year with exclusive travel retail promotions

Qatar Duty Free ushers in the chinese free new year cards designs New Year with exclusive travel retail promotions

Theodore Koumelis - 17 January 2014, 00:23

During the promotion, all passengers transiting at Doha International Airport will receive an 8% discount coupon, which can be redeemed exclusively in the Chinese New Year-themed areas.

DOHA - Qatar-Qatar Duty Free (QDF), a subsidiary of Qatar Airways has ushered in the lucky year of the Horse this Chinese New Year with themed promotions all through January and February in 2014. Being held in two locations on level one of Doha International Airport, the promotion has been designed exclusively for travellers from mainland China, Hong Kong and other parts of the region. Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer, Akbar al Baker was joined by the Chinese Ambassador to Qatar, H.E. Gao Youzhen, and CEO of UnionPay International, Cai Jianbo, to officially commemorate the inaugural promotion.

With travellers from China representing a significant and increasingly growing portion of its high-spending consumer base, QDF has partnered with UnionPay International, China's preferred payment option, to provide its Chinese customers with ease of mind and familiar purchasing options during the festive season.

QDF's annual Chinese New Year promotion, which has featured a dedicated retail area for the third year running, and its collaboration this year with UnionPay International, is a testament to the company's commitment to grow its Chinese consumer segment. It also acts as a strong conduit in strengtheningtrade ties between Qatar and China.

Commenting on the occasion, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said, "Qatar Duty Free would like to wish our Chinese consumers a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year. In line with this special occasion, QDF is offering travellers a range of exciting offers across a wide variety of products that are popular during the festive season. This year, we are pleased to collaborate with UnionPay International to make the Chinese New Year promotion even more rewarding and attractive for our consumers".

While observing the attractively decorated Chinese themed pavilion, Mr. Cai Jianbo, CEO of UnionPay International said: "As a popular international hub, Doha International Airport has been receiving an increasing number of Chinese passengers by almost 20% each year, and most of them are UnionPay card holders. UnionPay International collaborated with QDF thisChinese New Year with the aim of providing amazing travel experiences to our card holders, who are going back to their homeland for the New Year from mainly Europe, Middle East and Africa. UnionPay International continuously strives to collaborate with QDF to provide the best services to the UnionPay card holders."

According to Qatar Duty Free Senior Vice-President Keith Hunter, the promotion thus far has been extremely well receivedby Chinese passengers travelling via Doha, especially across categories such as fragrances, skincare, tobacco, luxury watches, gifts and souvenirs.

"Qatar Duty Free has been pioneering unique retail offers that cater to a multicultural portfolio of travellers. We have built our reputation through an emphasis on strong tailored promotions and a focus on high-end retail executions that truly evoke a sense of excitement amongst our customers. The exclusive Chinese New Year promotion allows QDF to build our affinity with Chinese customers who are incredibly well-travelled and possess discerning travel retail expectations", added Hunter.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Find Best Flooring Deals with 10% off Online Coupon for Flooring from Floor Trader of Tacoma WA

Tacoma, WA -- ( SBWIRE) -- 01/14/2014 -- Floor Trader of Tacoma offers low prices and top quality on all flooring styles and varieties! Customers can now take advantage of a current Online Deals coupon special of $100 off a $1,000 purchase.

Looking to refresh a room or remodel an entire space? Turn to the experienced discount flooring company Floor Trader of Tacoma for any commercial or residential flooring need! The available inventory, including exclusive brands, at the discount flooring specialists in Tacoma WA will accommodate any customer's flooring needs.

Choose the flooring professionals in the Tacoma area, who have 92 years of combined experience and a reputation for finding the best deals on carpets and flooring. Floor Trader of Tacoma stands apart from the competition because of its wide-selection of flooring options including exclusive brands and a unique approach to meeting customer needs.

"We bought our carpet and cannot be more pleased...bottom line, great price on install, great service, just cannot say enough about your guys," says Paul, a Tacoma, Washington, customer. Customers of Floor Trader of Tacoma have come to expect quality products, an easy-to-shop store, well-organized product samples, expert sales associates, financing on purchases, and connections to preferred installers.

Customers searching for quality, affordable flooring options that last should turn to the widest selection of discount floors in Tacoma. Floor Trader of Tacoma offers carpet, laminate, hardwood, vinyl, tile, and more. Plus, flooring prices and installations have no hidden fees or price add-ons.

Floor Trader of Tacoma WA currently offers an online coupon for $100 off of any hardwood, tile, carpet, vinyl, or laminate purchase of $1,000 or more! This discount is in addition to the already factory-priced flooring options. For more information check out

Contact Floor Trader of Tacoma for flooring options that meet any customer's needs! Floor Trader of Tacoma has the widest selection of discount flooring in Tacoma and the surrounding areas.

Press Release Source : AB Newswire

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Review: 'The Best Offer' is a finely layered mystery

Although writer-director Giuseppe Tornatore ("Cinema Paradiso," "Everybody's Fine") certainly puts his own stamp on the intriguing art-world thriller "The Online Deals," there's an effective dash of Hitchcock and even a soupçon of 1970s-era De Palma (remember "Obsession"?) tossed in for good measure.

Add a masterful lead performance by Geoffrey Rush as Virgil Oldman, a snobby antiques dealer and auctioneer who finds himself on the most unexpected journey of his life, and the result is a classy, atmospheric, onion-peel of a mystery.

The never-married Virgil, a fussy loner with a closetful of gloves (he's a germaphobe) and a hidden room covered in priceless paintings of beautiful women, meets his soul mate of sorts when he's hired by high-strung, deeply agoraphobic heiress Claire Ibbetson (Sylvia Hoeks) to help her sell a villa's worth of valuables left by her late parents. Claire doesn't make the assignment easy on Virgil - nor he on her - until a May-December romance blooms between them, drawing each other out in the process.

PHOTOS: Box office top 10 of 2013

Though, of course, nothing will be quite what it seems (how can it be after a character pointedly reminds Virgil that "everything can be faked"?), the film has several smart twists and surprises up its well-tailored sleeve.

The always-welcome Jim Sturgess ("Across the Universe," "Upside Down") provides jaunty support as a mechanical whiz who becomes Virgil's confidant and romantic coach. Donald Sutherland, in flowing white hair and beard, also figures in as Virgil's shady artist pal.

A lush score by legendary composer and frequent Tornatore collaborator Ennio Morricone, fine cinematography by Fabio Zamarion and Maurizio Sabatini's superb production design add immeasurably to this involving picture.


"The Best Offer"

MPAA rating: R for some sexuality and graphic nudity

Running time: 2 hours, 11 minutes

Playing: Laemmle's Music Hall, Beverly Hills

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Two coupon inserts + more coming in Sunday's N&O

Look for two Deal News inserts -- plus a few extra coupons and a rebate -- in this Sunday's home-delivered Final Edition of The News & Observer.

In addition to one Red Plum and a hefty Smart Source insert, watch for a single page with two Olay coupons and a rebate inside the Red Plum. There's also a coupon in Parade magazine.

There are some nice coupons this week from brands that rarely issue coupons. Quaker, Del Monte, Dole, Oscar Mayer and Claussen are all making appearances this week.

On top of that, if you have dogs in your household, you'll be happy to find a mail-in rebate on a premium dog for up to $39.99.

All together, there will be 133 coupons with a face value of about $153.

As usual, I'll have the coupon database updated and the best of the Kroger and drugstore deals posted early Sunday morning so you can get a jump on your bargain shopping for the week.

Please note: Single-copy and State Edition papers may not contain all coupon inserts.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Sean Penn, Charlize Theron, and Other New Year's Mystery Romances

In today's gossip roundup: three affairs blossomed into public spectacles over the holiday, Kim Kardashian photographed her most cherished possession being held by her child, and Robin Thicke freaked out about a hotel room.

All love is a mystery! Who knows what fuels it, guides it, creates it and tears it apart? But no love is more mysterious than that of the celebrity mystery romance. And wouldn't you know it, here at the very start of 2014 C.E., we have three head-scratching celebrity affairs to discuss. The first involves two known quantities: Sean Penn and Charlize Theron. The Oscar-winning actors recently spent some time in Hawaii together, hanging out at Penn's Big Island beach house, Sean surfing and Charlize strolling in the sand in her bikini. They arrived back in smoggy old Los Angeles on the same flight yesterday, but made a point of exiting the airport separately. Rumors have been swirling about the pair for a little while now, and this latest information, including the strategic separate exits, would seem to confirm their relationship. Though it might not! Maybe they're just friends and decided to spend New Year's Eve together but kinda hung out for too long-maybe they'd never traveled together and realized that they get on each other's nerves. So by the time they got back home, they just wanted to get away from each other, take a little break and cool off. Or maybe Charlize has a tradition that if she lands in Terminal 1 she has to get a meal at CPK ASAP, and Sean was like "Uhh, I think I'm just gonna go home" and she said "Suit yourself, but I'm getting a BBQ chicken pizza with honey-wheat dough and there's nothing you can do to stop me." That could be the case! We just don't know, is the thing, and that is why this romance technically remains a mystery. Though it does seem highly likely that they are an item-when's the last time you and a potential mate, depending on your gender preference, spent New Year's Eve alone together on a Hawaiian beach?-we just don't know for certain. There are too many variables in play to draw a concrete conclusion. [Daily Mail]

Even more mysterious are the unknown beaux seen cavorting with Bethenny Frankel and Demi Moore this past holiday week. They were not all together, it was not some mystery double date. No, Frankel, who made her millions in the potable chemicals racket, was in Miami Beach with an unknown slab of meat, while Moore, still flush with The Juror money, splashed around in Mexico with a tattooed younger man. Frankel and her unidentified fella were seen sharing a New Year's kiss at midnight and lounging on the beach the next day, Frankel in a big floppy hat, her gentleman friend in a daring white bathing suit. Meanwhile, Demi laughed and clung to her date's back like a baby monkey as they braved the waves together. The man, who appears to be in his 20s, has a great big Rihanna-bird tattooed on his chest. Well, no, I guess Rihanna's is actually the goddess Isis and is under her nipples, while this guy's is some sort of winged, Edward Gorey-ish creation that sits firmly above his nipples. (Nipples! Gross word.) But they are both big chest tattoos featuring large creatures with wings, so you can see why I would draw the comparison, I hope. Anyway, the point is we don't know who Bethenny and Demi are dating, if these are serious relationships or everyone's just playing a brief game of beach blanket bingo, but they certainly do look happy in the photos. And I should hope so! No sense in frolicking on warm tropical beaches on New Year's if you're gonna look miserable doing it. Enjoy the salty spray, young lovers. The scuttle and skitter of hermit crabs, the mournful calls of gulls, the sweet song of steel drums and daiquiri blenders, the laughter of children as they play in the surf. A new year has dawned, and so, maybe, has new love. Live it up! Enjoy it! For sooner than we all want, 2015 will be knocking at the door, making old everything that was once so new, and wonderful, and mysterious. [Daily Mail; ]

Elsewhere, Kim Kardashian, ascendant Kween of Kalifornia, posted a charming Instagram photo on New Year's Eve. The image is of a small child's hand clutching an enormous diamond ring. Is it meant to represent our gilded, troubled modern age, simple innocence clashing with ostentatious materialism? Is it somehow a commentary on the diamond industry, pointing out the inflated value of the gems by turning such a large specimen into nothing more than a child's plaything? No, silly, it's a reference to Kim Kardashian's big year! Remember she had a baby, North West, and got engaged to the baby's father, Kanye West? So that's North West, clutching the anna griffin christmas cards hangar-sized ring Kanye gave to Kim when he proposed in a baseball stadium. "It was an amazing year!!!" Kim's caption reads, and certainly she is not wrong about that. Some may balk the idea of posing a child, or a child's arm at least, with such a gaudy and borderline irresponsible piece of jewelry, but what can we do about it? This is what Kim Kardashian wants, and judging by most of the comments, it is what her fans want too. Well, actually, judging by the comments, most of her fans want to spam people with requests for follows. But many others are supportive, with only a few naysayers. One such commenter wrote the following: "I don't care what the fuck you dick riders say she trying so hard to be like @beyonce." Which, sure, that person is probably not wrong vis à vis the Beyoncé comparison (a rhyming one no less!). There is definitely a whiff of Beyoncé-related aspirationalism in pretty much everything Kim has done of late. But I do take issue with the "dick riders" part. For one, correct me if I'm wrong but I believe there is explicit video evidence that Ms. Kardashian is not possessed of that particular appendage, so I'm not really sure what these fans are supposed to be riding. And two, there haven't been true dick riders in centuries. Sure they used to maraud across Eurasia, pillaging villages and leaving nothing but fire and suffering in their wake, but that was back in an older time. And it is insulting to all those people whose lives the dick riders, flopping into town on their enormous phalluses, irrevocably destroyed to so casually invoke them in a comment on Kim Kardashian's Instagram page. Oh well. Ultimately the point is that, yes, Kim Kardashian posed her baby for this photo and posted it to the Internet to illustrate her most glorious year. And while we may take issue with the medium, we cannot argue with the message. A most amazing year indeed. [People]

Robin Thicke, who has been trolling Kirk Cameron for years now with his popular (and sexually suggestive) music ("I'm his REAL son, sucker!!" has been the hidden message), ended his 2013 with a bang. Page Six is suggesting, or flat-out stating, that Thicke had something of a hotel room freakout in Miami on Monday night. He was in town to perform at the SLS Hotel South Beach on New Year's Eve, but when he checked in he was vocally unhappy about the size of his hotel room. "It's too big!" he cried. "Too many rooms! And what's all this fruit and champagne doing here, I didn't order this! I don't need this! There are people homeless and starving, right here in this country!" Well, actually, no, it was quite the opposite. In fact he thought the room was too small, and threatened to pull of the performance if he wasn't upgraded. So his travel agent called around to various other Miami hotels and, after explaining that yes travel agents do still exist, requested a room for his client. What a disaster! Though, the SLS hotel says that no such thing happened, telling Page Six, "Robin has been a great guest." That doesn't mean much, though. Of course they're going to say that. It would be bad business to say "Yes, this celebrity freaked out," because that might scare off other high-profile guests who'd like to have their own hotel freakouts. No fancy hotel wants to be known as the place where celebrities can't freak out in relative peace. Because celebrities, or many celebrities at least, like nothing more than freaking the heck out at hotels. It's why lots of people want to become famous to begin with! So it's only good politics to say "No, no, he was an excellent guest," because it telegraphs to other stars that they too can freak out at the SLS Hotel South Beach with impunity. It's important messaging in the hotel business. It's like that one Red Roof Inn off the highway saying "Oh goodness no, no one's ever had a three-day drug binge followed by a standoff before being brought down in a hail of police gunfire at our establishment." If you want more of that business, you don't air others clients' dirty laundry. So I think this was all handled rather well, don't you? [ Page Six]

Kaley Cuoco is married! The Big Bang Theory actress/luckiest girl in all of Hollywood wed her boyfriend of six months in a ceremony on New Year's Eve, and posted a couple pics of the event yesterday with effusive captions like, "Greatest night of my entire life :) @ryansweething." @ryansweeting is her new husband, naturally. And so Cuoco, known by many in the industry as one of America's most dynamic and exciting actresses, is officially off the market. It's been a whirlwind romantic year for Cuoco, who of course had this quick courtship with @ryansweeting, but also was seen back in June with Man of Steel star Henry Cavill, appearing in perhaps one of the finest celebrity photos of the year. "Kaley Cuoco is having fun!" was the message in that photo, her laughing in that big hat while she clutches to her hunk prize. But alas that fun was not meant to be, and so Cuoco moved on, quickly finding @ryansweeting and marrying him just before her busy year came to a close. And Kaley Cuoco is still having fun, if the whimsical Instagram snap of @ryansweeting swaddled in her big poofy pink dress is any indication. Sure he may be shrugging as if to say "What is happening? How did I get here?" But Kaley, who is very much alive despite some rumors to the contrary, is laughing and laughing and laughing, having a grand old time as she rides this wild bucking bronco called life. Good for her. And if Mr. Cavill needs a shoulder to cry on, or whatever, I hope he knows he's got one. []

Oh dear. Another Kennedy scandal. Well, OK, by Kennedy standards, this is actually pretty tame, but it's still something. What happened was this: Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, sent a mass holiday greeting email-a photo of her and her daughters with a little note-out to the distribution list of the Robert F. Kennedy Center, and because of some kind of technical problem, whenever someone responded, the responses went to everyone on the list instead of just Kerry. Actors Dennis Haysbert and Matthew Modine were among early responders, wishing Kennedy and her family Merry Christmas and thanking her for the photo. But pretty quickly people became frustrated with the flood of responses, to the point that Steven Rattner, the billionaire/economic policy guru, wrote, "I think something more along the lines of an apology would be in order. Please be sure I never get an e-mail from this organization again." Yikes! That is a scary email to get from a hugely influential billionaire in response to your holiday card. Kennedy at least had a few heavy-hitters defending her, with political operator/Kennedy friend Alan Fleischman saying "Kerry did nothing wrong" and actress Catherine Keener joking, "Be more upset with the NSA than RFK." Kennedy then issued her own apology, saying she was resolved in the New Year to "not bother all my friends during the holidays." By which point I'd hope that people like Rattner were a little embarrassed to have reacted so strongly. I'm sure this latest Kennedy kerfuffle will blow over, and by this time next year, no one will remember it. And, again, on the scale of Kennedy calamities, this rates pretty low. When reached for comment on the matter, the ghost of Joe Kennedy, Sr. said "The hell are you talking about?" And I think he's got a point. [Daily Mail]

Thursday, January 2, 2014

MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry Fallout Continues After Racial Joke

MSNBC, the cable news network that in recent months parted ways with Alec Baldwin and Martin Bashir, started the New Year with one of its weekend hosts, Melissa Harris-Perry, apologizing for making racially insensitive remarks during her last show of 2013. A Drudge Report link certainly got the ball rolling, but several days later the controversy seems only to have grown larger as competitors like CNN and the Fox News Channel have weighed in multiple times and Twitter and other social media continue to spread news of the MSNBC segment.

The segment had Harris-Perry showing newsworthy photos of 2013 to a panel and asking them to come up with clever captions. The one photo that didn't include an image of President Barack Obama was a Mitt Romney Christmas card that featured a photo of the former Republican candidate for president surrounded by his wife and grandchildren. On his lap sat infant Kieran Romney, the adopted black son of one of Romney's sons.

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On seeing the photo, one panelist, actress Pia Glenn sang, "One of these things is not like the other ... and that little baby, front and center, would be the one," as Harris-Perry laughed. Another panelist, comedian Dean Obeidallah joked that the image "sums up the diversity of the Republican party." Harris-Perry cracked up the panel of four with the notion that Kieran could some day marry North West, the child of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. "Can you imagine Mitt Romney and Kanye West as in-laws?" she asked. See the segment below.

The rebuke from the right began soon after the Sunday show ended. "MSNBC racists mock Romney family for adopting a black child," read a headline at Gateway Pundit the next day. "We all saw media/left go after Sarah Palin's family. This attack on Mitt Romney's grandson is who these evil scumbags are," tweeted John Nolte of Investors Business Daily used the MSNBC segment as evidence that "the real bigots are on the left." Palin wrote on her Facebook page, "You really need a conscience, yellow journalists. May your 2014 New Year's Resolution be to find one. Thank you, Romney family, for giving a child a family full of love."

Gaining traction Thursday was a scathing rebuke from Charles Hurt in the Washington Times where he writes: "Since you, like most Americans, do not watch MSNBC and have never heard of these thuggish characters, I will describe what they did." He then belittles Harris-Perry as "a silly woman who apparently hosts a show on the network" and her panel as "Neanderthal guests."

National Review called Harris-Perry's comments "extraordinarily backward and hateful," and Crystal Wright noted at the Guardian that Harris-Perry has a white mother and black father, then derided her for "displaying the height of hypocrisy." Referring to Glenn singing "one of these things is not like the other," Wright wrote: "Imagine if an innocent black baby had been referred to as a 'thing' by Republicans. But since a liberal television show does it, we should accept it and move on?" Wright continued her assault Thursday night while a guest on Hannity on Fox News.

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Conservative talk radio has also been on the case, but perhaps the most sustained criticism has come from conservative actor Nick Searcy, who has an adopted son who is black and tweeted on Monday, "Yo Melissa! Mock me too!" Searcy followed with a barrage of tweets aimed at Harris-Perry and her panelists, including: "They ridicule transracial adoption because they are afraid the child won't hate whitey," and, "I'm not going to sit by & pretend it's not happening. She and her leftist drones hurt transracial adoption & society."

Harris-Perry has apologized via several tweets and an article at Glenn also addressed the controversy in tweets, and Obeidallah went into a lengthy explanation in an article at the Daily Beast, where he writes that he's disappointed Palin and others haven't leapt to his defense as they did with Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson after he was attacked for saying politically incorrect things during a GQ interview. In response to Obeidallah's piece, Howard Portnoy of the conservative NewsBusters penned an article headlined: "MSNBC 'comedian' slightly less of a jerk than Melissa Harris-Perry."

But MSNBC, which did not respond to a request for comment, is also taking heat from its not-so-conservative competitor CNN, which, in turn, is being attacked from the left.

On Wednesday, CNN ran a segment where journalist Fredricka Whitfield claimed that "some are calling for Melissa Harris-Perry to be fired," though the report was light on evidence that that, in fact, was the case. See the CNN video below.

At the left-wing PoliticsUSA, Jason Easley wrote that CNN ran what amounts to "a hit piece on Melissa Harris-Perry that is designed to get her fired." He added: "CNN's story was a deplorable piece of television that was intended to pander to the right, and prop up a scandal that is already dead."

Fox News, meanwhile, has mentioned the MSNBC segment numerous times on air and at its website. Liberal Fox News contributor Alan Colmes used his blog to defend the MSNBC crew because, as he saw it, they were mocking 3d christmas cards Republicans and not an innocent baby. But that was a minority view at Fox News, where even liberal Bob Beckel advised his competitors at MSNBC to "shut your mouth. Be happy that child's got a place to be. Be happy they've got a good place to live, some food on the table and they're being housed and clothed and given the kind of education they need."